We dropped our first article on the standouts from the showcase that covered players across classifications. Now let’s focus specifically on the 2026 class and the standouts that emerged… Castor Maynard (6’2/PG/2026) AAU Team: NYBA Instagram: castormaynard Twitter: N/A…
We dropped our first article on the standouts from the showcase that covered players across classifications. Now let’s focus specifically on the 2026 class and the standouts that emerged…
Castor Maynard (6’2/PG/2026)
AAU Team: NYBA
Castor was one of the talents at camp that raised eyebrows with his athleticism. He is a listed PG with good size, creating ability, and an ability to finish above the rim. I would love to see Castor play with greater intensity, as he was not as engaged during the first game I watched him compared to the second game.
When he was locked in as he was in the latter game, he was getting it done from behind the arc and above the rim.
He is an undeniable talent with potential, but he had moments where it would have done him justice to get teammates involved. If they were keeping stats, I do not think his shooting percentage would have been one that would have been amazing, but he did show that he can score the rock. As he continues developing his ability to recognize when good shots are before him, his scoring potential will increase.
Jackson Keene (6’1/CG/2026)
AAU Team: HOOP DREAMS
Jackson used the Next-Up Showcase to give all in attendance a glimpse of what is emerging in the 2026 class. He was absolutely spectacular and could have easily been one of, if not the best, player at the camp. He has a huge arsenal of offensive weapons, and he had all of them working at camp. He controlled the flow of every game that his team played, and with the ball in his hands the majority of the time, he showed his ability to be a playmaker and a floor general.
His ability to shoot the rock from behind the arc made him a player you can’t leave open.
There is literally no place he cannot score from when he crosses half-court. His ability to score was an impactful force that gave defenders problems all day. He was one of the most effective and productive players with the ball in his hands and is definitely a player to keep your eyes on over the next couple of years.
Marcell Jackson (5’8/PG/2026)
AAU Team: NYBA
Marcell showed a well-balanced floor game throughout the day. He was one of the players that played both ends of the court equally as hard. He is a caliber player that sets the tone for a team from the lead guard spot. He controls the pace, gets teammates involved, and plays with a good IQ for his age. He has a balance between facilitating and scoring, and in an environment when most were looking to get theirs, he shined the brightest, helping others shine bright.
He was a pleasant surprise as he showed good vision and accuracy as a floor general.
When scoring opportunities presented themselves, he showed his ability to get to the cup and, at other times, showed his floater game. His unselfishness is what really caught my attention.
Jashawn Thompson (6’1/C/2026)
AAU Team: Atlanta Heat
JT played within his strengths and settled in the paint, making it his domain. His arsenal consists primarily of robust activity on the glass and running the floor in transition. His athleticism is what aids him in both areas and makes him a post player that is a handful to deal with. He is an agile post that moves well in the paint.
As he continues to expand his game outside of the paint, his stock will increase because of his versatility.
Right now, he is a player who showed that he needs others to create scoring opportunities for him, and the caliber of talent he is, he should be creating his own scoring opportunities.
Kj Shouse (6’2/Wing/2026)
AAU Team: Team United
KJ was one of the more versatile players in camp with good length on the wing. At 6’2, he had an impressive inside-outside game. He was aggressive of the bounce dicing his way to the cup, and even though still developing, he produced on the low block posting smaller guards.
His craftiness in getting to the rack, running the floor in transition, and ability to finish in the paint are highly productive and useful as he moves forward.
The aforementioned qualities will be strengths that will separate KJ at the next level, but there are some points of development that he has to continue to work on. I often say that basketball is played low to high, meaning you have to live low. Currently, KJ plays the game-high and would probably find more leverage if he played low. He also needs to continue working on his handles as he is already a force to be reckoned with off the bounce, but a better handle will make his game extremely difficult to defend.
Stay locked in as more is coming from this fantastic event.